Village Africa is a charity working in Tanzania, East Africa. It is based in a village called Yamba, high in the West Usambara Mountains in the Tanga region. Its aim is to alleviate poverty. Initially its work is in health and education. Locally it is known by the Kisambaa name ‘Vyaadahikana’ which means ‘It is possible’.
Village Africa has reactivated Yamba Village Health Post (Catholic Church registered). It has done this by sponsoring the salaries of two nurses/laboratory technicians. It has also provided a stock of medicine, medical equipment and cleaning materials.
Village Africa is assisting four government primary schools (Yamba, Milingano, Kweulasi and Mkurumuzi) and one government secondary school (Mibukwe). The project builds classrooms and school toilets and provides desks, books, cupboards, sports equipment and school stationery as funds permit. Vilage Africa is also running a child sponsorship scheme for primary school and secondary school students. It ran a successful and popular volunteer teaching programme to assist with the teaching of English from Sept 2006-Sept 2012 until changes in the immigration process.
Village Africa was started in May 2006 by a British woman (Caroline Johnston) and a Tanzanian priest (Father Stanislaus Baruti). It is registered in the UK as an independent charity. Directors have been found and it has a small UK office run by a volunteer. The project has Tanzanian staff and employs a lot of village casual labour for building projects. The charity was initially financed by a very generous gift from the late Mrs Rhoda Lawley. It is now funded by donations from both individuals and companies.
Most villagers have no cash income – just the crops they grow. They experience frequent crop failures caused by drought. Despite the cold climate several months of the year, many adults and children do not have adequate warm clothing, footwear and bedding. There is no mains electricity or piped water. The nearest bus is five hours walk away. Prior to the start of Village Africa, sick people and pregnant women were taken on a stretcher carried by six men down the mountain on a two day walk to hospital. Mother and child mortality are high.
The villagers of Yamba and Milingano have a thirst for development and have proved this in practical terms. They donated land, buildings, building materials, food and hours of casual labour to get the project started. They spent five months turning the bush into a 3km road to give vehicular access. Village Africa has a four wheel drive vehicle which is used to bring medicine, supplies, and visitors to the project. It is used as an ambulance to take sick people to hospital in emergencies.
The villagers are friendly, hospitable and generous. They look after one another. They wear vibrant colours, sing, dance, drum and play the guitar to enjoy life. They are incredibly strong and can carry a 20kg bag of cement up the mountain.
The project has the support of the community, the village committees and the Tanzanian government. All are assisting in ways that they can and all believe that development is possible (‘Vyaadahikana’).
Village Africa works in the villages of Yamba and Milingano in the West Usambara Mountains in the Tanga region of Tanzania, East Africa. Village Africa’s ambulance service also helps seriously ill patients in neighbouring villages (covering a total population of 7000). View Location page for more information.